Message From The President – Summer 2020

President Brian String addressing a crowd.

As seen in the Unity: Summer 2020 – President’s Report. See past copies of the Unity here.


It’s time for CEOs to restore hazard pay

Throughout Local 152’s jurisdiction, frontline workers are continuing to show up for our communities every single day despite the very real dangers they face.

With more than 5.5 million COVID-19 cases nationwide (at the time of this writing) and more people getting sick every day, grocery workers in our neighborhood supermarkets are among those with the most risk to contract the virus, sometimes interacting with thousands of customers a day.

Without the courage of these essential workers who continue to put themselves in harm’s way, families in our communities would not have the food they need during this crisis.

Given the growing risks as cases continue to spread, it is time for the CEOs of every grocery chain in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Delaware to step up and guarantee hazard pay for all of these frontline workers.

Local 152 represents thousands of workers in grocery stores and many other essential businesses across four states. The members of our union know firsthand that the danger never went away. Yet many of the CEOs of our country’s largest grocery chains ended hazard pay for these workers as if the pandemic was over and they are no longer at risk.


Confronting reality

In reality, workers continue to get sick and die from COVID-19. Nationwide, there have already been at least 100 grocery worker deaths and thousands more infected. Our members in grocery stores, nursing homes, processing plants and other essential businesses continue to live with the daily fear of not only becoming sick, but also putting their families in danger by bringing this deadly virus home.

It is stunning to see the CEOs of grocery chains and other employers raking in billions in profits during the pandemic and still cutting hazard pay for these brave frontline workers. These companies are treating grocery workers as expendable at a time when the danger of the virus is just as real as on Day One of the pandemic, and we continue to count on these essential workers to be able to put food on the table for our families.

Our families deserve better.

As COVID-19 cases continue to spread across the communities we serve and our members continue their essential service to our communities, it is time for CEOs to tell the truth about the real risks that exist in grocery stores and provide the strong hazard pay these workers have earned for the danger they face every day.

The only way we will get through this is together, and that starts with companies doing the right thing by putting workers and families first.

— President Brian String


Read past Messages, or learn more about President Brian String.